Ryan S. Lin, 24, of Newton, Mass., was arraigned in Boston federal court on one count of cyberstalking Friday after his arrest the previous night.
Lin is accused of releasing a treasure trove of personal information about Jennifer Smith, a pseudonym online, which is referred to as “doxing.”
The alleged campaign of harassment against Smith included mailing out fake erotic collages of Smith to her coworkers, creating fake profile accounts for Smith on BDSM and other sexual websites, and making phone and email threats to rape or murder Smith or members of her family.
The online profiles caused men to show up at her house looking for sex, according to prosecutors.
Lin also allegedly hacked into Smith’s laptop and personal files kept on her Google Drive account that included medical and sexual histories.
In addition, prosecutors claim he falsely reported bombs at her house and made threats of shooting up a school under a fake profile in the name of her new roommate.
FBI Special Agent Jeffrey Williams wrote in an affidavit that Lin was likely the “original perpetrator” of the hacking and cyberstalking campaign, but admitted “it is possible that one or more of the actions [alleged], particularly conduct that transpired after Smith was doxed in the spring of 2017, may not actually be Lin’s direct work.
“Rather, they may be actions of those working from the information provided on these forums, possibly at Lin’s direction,” the affidavit states.
Kenneth A. Blanco, acting assistant attorney general in the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, said in a statement, “Those who think they can use the Internet to terrorize people and hide behind the anonymity of the net and outwit law enforcement should think again.”
FBI Special Agent in Charge Harold Shaw added, “As alleged, Mr. Lin orchestrated an extensive, multi-faceted campaign of computer hacking and online harassment that caused a huge amount of angst, alarm, and unnecessary expenditure of limited law enforcement resources.”
“This kind of behavior is not a prank, and it isn’t harmless,” Shaw said.